... you can learn from:
The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Rosalie: I don't know how to shoot.Michael: It's easy. You just pull the trigger.
Orson Welles was born 105 years ago today! Does anybody else consider this their favorite Welles movie? It's maybe a close call against Touch of Evil but The Lady From Shanghai ekes one out for me because hey, it doesn't have Charlton Heston playing Mexican! I get why Citizen Kane is momentous and revered but all the times I've watched it I have never felt much of an emotional connection to it -- no matter how far away from film school I get it still always feels like a book report. The Lady From Shanghai's got it all though.
What would make this picture perfection would be in Welles wasn't in it. Or he skipped the leprechaun accent. That happy-go-lucky lilt wrecks the whole thing for me.
I like but don't love The Lady from Shanghai. It's definitely memorable and stylized if a bit muddled but as far as Welles film work goes I have several I prefer to it. But I guess it would have to be split into two different categories though with some overlap-films that he directed and those where he was a performer.
Top 5 as a director:
Touch of Evil-Yea it should have been Ricardo Montalban or Gilbert Roland rather than Heston but the total film is so involving and involved I can overlook Chuck. Plus both Welles and Marlene Dietrich rock in their respective roles.
The Magnificent Ambersons-Even in its mutilated form it's a hell of a film and the brilliance of Agnes Moorehead here can not be overstated.
The Stranger-My tolerance for Loretta Young is very low (especially after her pre-code period) though higher than for the noxious Jennifer Jones but both Welles and Edward G. Robinson are so good in this I can put up with her because of them.
The Lady from Shanghai
Black Magic-Lurid, florid and fun.
Citizen Kane would fall somewhere just below this along with Journey Into Fear. Kane is striking and obviously influential but I've never gotten all the worship for it.
Top 5 as a performer:
Man in the Shadow-Very good modern Western noir that pits honest sheriff Jeff Chandler (in his best performance) against odious rancher and town despot Welles.
Jane Eyre-To me he's the best Edward Rochester I've seen in an adaptation of this chestnut.
Touch of Evil-Director Welles got a great performance out of performer Welles.
Compulsion-He's not the main focus but he's very memorable as the thinly veiled Clarence Darrow.
Prince of Foxes-He's surely infinitely better in his small appearance in the same year's The Third Man but Welles serves of a huge slice of delicious ham in this Ty Power swashbuckler and I'm right here for it!
I love the finale in the funhouse and it had atmosphere but overall it is a bit muddled.
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